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Friday round-up

Of yesterday’s four decisions, the Court’s decisions in Sykes v. United States and Microsoft v. i4i garnered the most coverage.

In Sykes, in which the Court held that fleeing the police in a car constitutes a “violent felony” for purposes of the Armed Career Criminal Act, Justice Scalia’s dissent from what he characterizes as the “tutti-frutti” majority opinion has drawn substantial attention. At the Volokh Conspiracy, Jonathan Adler describes Scalia as having “chastise[d] his colleagues for continuing a futile effort to bring clarity to what constitutes a ‘violent felony’ under the Armed Career Criminal Act.” At the ABA Journal, Debra Cassens Weiss highlights Justice Scalia’s concerns about writing criminal law with vague standards: “Fuzzy, leave-the-details-to-be-sorted-out-by-the-courts legislation is attractive to the congressman who wants credit for addressing a national problem but does not have the time (or perhaps the votes) to grapple with the nitty gritty.” Andrew Cohen, at the Atlantic, lauds Justice Scalia as “my new best friend, at least for this week” for his ability to call out Congress “as only he can do.”

At the New York Times, Adam Liptak summarizes the decision in Sykes more generally.  Additional coverage of the case comes from Robert Barnes of the Washington Post, David Savage of the Los Angeles Times (via the San Francisco Chronicle), CNN, and Courthouse News Service. For RedState, Dan McLaughlin covers not only yesterday’s decision in Sykes, but also the Court’s decisions in DePierre and Talk America.

At the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, Ashby Jones sums up the Court’s message for Microsoft in Microsoft v. i4i pretty succinctly: “You got a problem with this, take it up with Congress, not us.” “A contrary decision would have upended the way patent law has been practiced for decades and would have set off a mad scramble to rewrite the law in Congress,” explains Nina Totenberg at National Public Radio.  And Richard Waters at the Financial Times describes the case as a “lightning rod in the US for the issue of whether rich companies were being held hostage by opportunistic ‘patent trolls.’” At the Huffington Post, Daniel B. Ravicher, Executive Director of the Public Patent Foundation, discusses the decision in the context of legislation currently pending in Congress that would change patent law from a “first to invent” to a “first to file” system.  Jess Bravin of the Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press (via Forbes), the Engineer, Reuters, Bloomberg News (via Boston Globe), InfoWorld, and PC Pro all have additional coverage of the i4i decision.

At the Volokh Conspiracy, Jonathan Adler discusses the “concerns” expressed by Justice Scalia in his Talk America v. Michigan Bell concurrence with regard to Auer deference, a doctrine whereby courts defer to agencies’ interpretations of their own regulations.  At the Weekly Standard, Adam J. White notes that although Justice Scalia “opens the door to a future case in which the Court may be asked to reconsider the entire Auer doctrine,” he concedes that “the odds of succeeding in such a challenge are, of course, daunting: after all, none of Scalia’s colleagues joined his opinion.”  More coverage of the case can be found at Bloomberg, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Courthouse News Service, and Investors Business Daily.


  • Both Courthouse News Service and UPI have coverage of yesterday’s decision in DePierre v. United States, in which the Court held that the term “cocaine base” includes all cocaine in a chemically basic form, not just crack cocaine.
  • At the Volokh Conspiracy, John Elwood takes a look at how patent law has fared over the last term.

Recommended Citation: Kiera Flynn, Friday round-up, SCOTUSblog (Jun. 10, 2011, 3:10 PM),